Chapter 89 – A Man Who Is Courting You (1)
“Hesse Freya has met with the greenhouse.”
Ian frowned at the report delivered by his aide. Why was Hesse meeting Louise, when he said he was on vacation to meet a match from another family?
“What about the marriage offer?”
“What is there to ask? Of course.”
“So he must have been dumped.”
That’s how it always ended up with Hesse. Ian sighed for a moment thinking about face of the old Count Freya. The count, who commanded a great army to protect the country’s border, did not win much against his own son. There would probably be another wrinkle added to his face today.
“So where did they meet?”
“At the arts center.”
“I can already imagine how loud the two must be in the hallway.”
They liked to share special promises and secrets with each other. Come to think of it, Hesse had always been kind to Louise since they were children. Ian wondered if the bodyguard would change his name to Hesse Sweeney, insisting that he wanted a younger sister. Count Freya would probably foam at the mouth before collapsing to the ground.
“I apologize, Your Highness.”
As Ian was thinking about the relationship between the two, the aide continued the report with a meaningful smile.
“Their meeting was not in the hallway.”
“Well…It was on the second floor.”
The aide put on a cautious face.
“You make it sound like they were alone in a box seat.”
“Shall we go look?”
Ian thought for a moment and nodded slowly, but it wasn’t the relationship that he was interested in.
“First, I want to know the situation.”
Hesse was an open person in words and behavior, but that didn’t mean he touched people without meaning. There must be some reason he was with Louise on his vacation, which he valued as much as his life. And it may have something to do with Ian. He knew that Hesse’s loyalty was more trustworthy than anyone else’s.
The delegation would arrive in twenty-four minutes. While the contract was being written, they hurriedly removed the existing decorations, but there was still much work to be done. The cleaning and changing of chairs was done with the help of the arts center staff, while the work of the Sweeney employees were to add the artificial flowers along the rails and the walls.
“I’m sorry, teacher Sean Wood.”
Louise carefully carried the flowers he created and gave an apology.
“I don’t think I have time to complete it the way you imagined.”
He said he imagined that these white flowers would be a bloom in a dark cave. But now, instead of reflecting his vision, she could barely decorate the rails and walls.
“You’ve spent so much time in making these beautiful.”
“It’s alright. Thanks to the little boss, the flowers have reached the cave.”
He rolled up his sleeves even though he had no obligation to help with this work. While various experts from the Sweeney family set up a simple structure over the walls and rails, Louise was constantly on her feet bringing them their necessary tools. With so many people working at the same time, the requests poured in unceasingly.
“Give me the twine, please!”
“I’m finished with the railing structure. Please pass me the leaf stems.”
“Hey, guys! Please clear the tools here! We need to replace the table!”
With the arts center staff, the narrow box quickly turned into a battlefield. At one point Louise had to stand against the wall to make room for the small table to be pulled out.
There was no end to the rush.
Louise twisted the line of leaves over the railing before turning to retrieve some twine from a box. However, she saw that Ian was already holding out some for her.
Louise was startled at the sudden appearance of Ian inside the busy space.
“Are you alright?”
The meaning of the short question was simple. She meant, “Are you alright being here before an important performance?”
“I will be when it improves in here.”
He picked out one of the bent flowers that Louise had brought in. The broken flower was given to Sean Wood and it soon recovered its intended shape.
Hesse came in through the room and urgently went to Ian’s side.
“Out of all the times, this is when the delegation decides to shift their heavy butts quickly.”
“Perhaps a performance from their own country gives them the patriotic vigor they didn’t have before. They seem to be impressed that they’re being respected.”
Ian frowned at the clock. It was seventeen minutes earlier than expected. Louise quickly changed her plan.
“I don’t know if it will work, but if we give up the wall now, we can speed things up.”
“My ward will regret it if she doesn’t complete it.”
Louise shrugged, however.
“I’ll buy you some more time to finish the work. Even if I have to dance, sing and provide entertainment in front of the delegation.”
Ian handed all the flowers he was holding to Sean Wood and turned away immediately. His job was simple. He was to keep the delegation’s butts in the gallery. Right now. The Sweeney employees and Louise relied on him to do his best.
Before Ian left the box, he looked at Louise. This whole time she tried to stay as calm as possible and not let the absence of her parents affect her. It was her first contract, and she wanted to get it right. She would give no excuses to the delegation. A small excuse could sometimes result in enormous demands. Had Ian’s and Louise’s goals ever been so perfectly aligned before? As he brushed past Louise’s side, he lifted one of his hands. Understanding the meaning, Louise lifted hers as well, and soon their palms met.
Their hands slipped away before their fingers could close together and share the warmth. However, their trust in each other was strong. There was no limit to the kind of touch or length of it than ever before. So since then, Louise wasn’t worried about Ian, and Ian wasn’t worried about Louise.
As long as they looked towards the same goal, they would make it a reality.
“Hurry up, Miss!”
The thought was fleeting, and Louise immediately went back to focusing on her work.